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University of South Africa (2020)

Adaption to drought conditions by smallholder livestock farmers : lessons from2014-2016 drought conditions in the Limpopo region

Rakgwale, Thabang Jantjie

Titre : Adaption to drought conditions by smallholder livestock farmers : lessons from2014-2016 drought conditions in the Limpopo region

Auteur : Rakgwale, Thabang Jantjie

Université de soutenance : University of South Africa

Grade : Master of Science M.Sc. (Agriculture) 2020

Résumé
The Limpopo Province is a disaster-prone province, with drought being the most common natural disaster. From the year 2012 onwards, the province experienced extremely dry conditions that culminated in a severe drought in 2016. This negatively impacted the livelihoods of smallholder livestock farmers and the welfare of their livestock. The study investigated the coping strategies that were adopted by smallholder livestock farmers during drought conditions and the factors that were associated with animal loss during the drought that affected the region between 2014 and 2016. A randomly selected sample of 281 smallholder livestock farmers aged 18 years and older from the Greater Letaba Local Municipality participated in the study. Structured interviews, aided by questionnaires were used to collect the primary data. Proportions of categorical variables and the mean and standard deviation for continuous variables were computed and presented as tables and figures. A Poisson regression model was fitted to the data to identify factors that were significantly associated with loss of animals during the drought. More than half (55.50% ; n=116) of the participants were made aware of the 2014–2016 drought through the agricultural extension officers, followed by 19.14% (n=40) who got to know about it through radio channels. More than half of the participants (58.29% ; n=123) were aware of the impending drought. The most common support received from government agencies to help cope with the drought was in the form of animal feed (80% ; n=124). Although most of the farmers (73.55% ; n=114) benefitted from the support they received, slightly more than half (53.74% ; n=151) did not cope well with the drought conditions. While Bellevue (B=-0.199 ; 95% CI : -0.380 -0.019) was negatively associated with loss of animals, Mokwakwaila (B=0.568 ; 95% CI : 0.405 0.731) had a strong positive association with loss of animals. Being married (B=-0.060 ; 95% CI : -0.305 0.183) or divorced (B= -0.035 ; 95% CI : -0.316 0.246) was negatively associated with loss of animals. Years of experience in farming (B=0.022 ; 95% CI : 0.010 0.033) and not receiving support during were strongly positively associated with loss of animals (B=0.324 ; 95% CI : 0.189 0.459). The low number of farmers who were aware of the impending drought and the large number of farmers who did not cope well suggests that many farmers in the area were not prepared for the drought. Groups such as widows, widowers and farmers who have many years of farming experience are high-risk groups and should be targeted for interventions in the event of a drought. More measures are needed to ensure that all agricultural centres are prepared and supported in event of a drought so as to minimise the impact of drought on local communities.

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